Retail & Commercial

Slanted and Enchanted

48 Crichton St
48 Crichton St
1902 Goad's Atlas (1912 Revision)
1902 Goad’s Atlas (1912 Revision)

This quirky little building has been standing in quiet dignity on Crichton Street in New Edinburgh since the early 1880s and has served a number of purposes. Identified on the 1888 Goad’s Atlas (1898/1901 Revision) as a one-storey wooden Store, it was once attached to its neighbour at No. 44. Before it became a private residence some time in the early 1970s, No. 48 served a variety of purposes. According to a recent heritage report, it began as a woodworking shop, owned by a John McElroy, and in operation until approximately 1885. [1] In the 1885 City Directory, McElroy was identified as a contractor, rather than a carpenter. [2] Perhaps a mark of success in business, McElroy vacated the premises and relocated to 68 Crichton. [3]

McElroy in the 1881 Ottawa City Directory. Earlier directories did not give the suburban areas the same street-by-street treatment as Ottawa proper.
McElroy in the 1881 Ottawa City Directory. Earlier directories did not give the suburban areas the same street-by-street treatment as Ottawa proper.

As sawdust is useful in the absorbing of liquids, Charles Garrow opened his butchery in 1886. [4] In 1891, William Short took over the butchery. [5] Short only remained on the scene for two years and in 1893, Charles Martel tried his hand at operating the butchery. [6] Similarly, Martel’s tenure in the building was short. It was taken over by John Gleeson in 1895. [7] Gleeson remained at No. 48 until 1901, when it was taken over by Thomas Green who was not identified as a butcher and may not have used the premises for that purpose. [8] By 1909, Adjutard (Adjutor) Bedard was operating the premises as a butchery, where he remained in business until the late 1920s. [9]

Once Bedard left No. 48 in favour of the larger newly-constructed facility at No. 67 Crichton, it became a corner store, operating as Trudel’s Confectionery until the early 1970s, when it was converted to a private residence.

[1] Report to Planning and Environment Committee, April 12, 2007.
[2] Ottawa City Directory, 1885, p. 344.
[3] Ottawa City Directory, 1886, p. 352.
[4] Ibid, p. 351.
[5] Ottawa City Directory, 1891-92, p. 83.
[6] Ottawa City Directory, 1893-94, p. 77.
[7] Ottawa City Directory, 1895-96,  p.79.
[8] Ottawa City Directory, 1901, p. 66. Note: I do not have city directories from 1902-1908.
[9] Ottawa City Directory, 1909, p. 63; Report to Planning and Environment Committee, April 12, 2007.


Development and its Discontents

Urban development – particularly when large-scale and rapid – had long been a cause of discomfort and difficulty for nearby residents and local government alike. One does not have to look much further than the local news to find examples of local opposition or tales of legal and political conflict, some falling to the feet of the Ontario Municipal Board or even the courts. When situated in the context of local government reorganization, annexation, and amalgamation, the growing pains have sometimes required a higher level of intervention from the province.

Ottawa Citizen: April 7, 1953
Ottawa Citizen: April 7, 1953

On April 6, 1953, Ottawa City Council agreed to request from the province a Commission of Inquiry into three specific developments that were near or recently completed. The three developments in question were a) Manor Park, b) Honeywell Farm, and c) “certain aspects of the Strathcona Heights development.” [1] A number of the concerns were, of course, familiar. The Honeywell subdivision (around Carlingwood) became problematic as “[the] people who had built single dwellings out there… had understood that they were building in a restricted area. Now, they were to have apartment housing facing them.” [2] In the case of both Manor Park and Honeywell Farm, development charges were in dispute.

Notice of Public Hearing
Notice of Public Hearing

The following month, the province appointed a lawyer from the St. Catharines area, M.A. Seymour, Q.C. to head up the commission. On May 16, a notice was published in the Citizen inviting any interested parties to attend and file documents. As scheduled, the hearings commenced on May 21. Testimony was opened up John Gillis, then proprietor of 75½ St. Laurent and the former Alderman Archibald Newman. Gillis presented to the commission to protest the expropriations the city undertook to make way for the subdivision. For his own part, Newman expressed disappointment that the developers of Manor Park had originally promised a more centrally-located shopping centre (bounded by Eastbourne, Braemore (Braemar), and Jeffry (Jeffrey) streets – where Mr. Gillis lived) but had since shuffled it off towards the east side of St. Laurent. A similar complaint was made about the Strathcona Heights development at Mann Avenue. Finally, Newman testified that there were tax irregularities associated with the expropriated parcels of land. [3] The allegations of irregularity of taxation (including Manor Park residents being over charged on their assessments for local improvement charges) would be what was most frequently reported and would come to be what ultimately resulted in the most explosive headlines. [4]

On November 30, Commissioner Seymour released his report. The headline in the Ottawa Journal was “Seymour Report: Urges $93,000 Cut For Manor Park” [5] while the Citizen ran with “Seymour OK’s Manor Park: Report Lauds Backers On Houses, Street Plan.” [6] The Journal summarized Seymour’s findings:

The report, prepared by Ontario-appointed special commissioner M.A. Seymour, QC, of St. Catharines [sic], after an exhaustive 12-day public probe of land development in Ottawa, also:

  1. Clears the Manor Park developers (chiefly A. W. Beament, QC, and R. Bruce Davis and their associates in various enterprises) of any “suspicious wrongdoing”.
  2. Compliments Mr. Beament and his associates on their excellence of their housing projects and the manner in which Manor Park was built up.
  3. Finds no justification for some of the criticisms made by Mayor Whitton in a report to city council last December 15 which gave rise to the probe.
  4. States the filing system of the City of Ottawa is “sadly in need of overhauling” and adds that if “full and correct information” had been available to the mayor from the files her report to council might have taken a different form.
  5. Strongly criticizes the board of control and city council of 1950 which permitted carrying our of expropriations in a manner in some cases illegal and in others legal but “harsh and arbitrary”.
  6. States that the city should be paid $578.42 by Manor Park developers in compensation for tax losses involved in certain expropriations.
  7. Shows that the pre-annexation Gloucester township council acted illegally in installing private water and sewer services from the street lines to the walls of the buildings in Manor Park.
  8. Charges the 1950 board of control with “slackness” for failure to conclude a formal agreement with Mr. Beament respecting the expropriations to be made.
  9. Terms “most unusual” and “improper” the action of the 1950 board of control and council in handing over to Mr. Beament’s law firm the conduct of the negotiations between the city and the expropriated owners.”
  10. Warmly commends the city’s new subdivision controls first applied in the Westwood (Honeywell farm) subdivision and states Ottawa is now following a “sound course”.
  11. Finds that a shopping centre was included in the original plans for the Mann avenue project (Strathcona Heights) but was eliminated when no chain store could be induced to locate there.

Of course, Seymour’s recommendations were just that: recommendations. It remained up to the City to act on them. I will explore the issue further at a later date.

[1] “City Council Asks Province To Probe Land Developments.” Ottawa Citizen. April 7, 1953, p. 6.
[2] Ibid.
[3] “Says Original Plans Not Followed In Home Project.” Ottawa Citizen. June 22, 1953, p. 16. [1, 2]
[4] “Asserts Mayor’s Charge Is Without Foundation.” Ottawa Citizen. June 24, 1953, p. 20. [1, 2]
[5] “Seymour Report: Urges $93,000 Cut For Manor Park.” Ottawa Journal. November 30, 1953, p.1. [1]
[6] “Seymour OK’s Manor Park.” Ottawa Citizen. November 30, 1953, p.1 [1, 2]